The Annual Sawfly Infestation

We have a couple of currant bushes, planted about 3 metres apart.

One bears a few white currants but mostly just tries to survive.  Part of it bears variegated leaves like a sport and the whole bush does not grow very high and frequently suffers annual dieback. We try to keep it comfortable, and right now it seems happy in the company of a large number of valerian plants.

The other currant bush bears a massive number of large clusters of red currants.  It seems very healthy, despite the constant attempts of burdock to dominate its space.  Unfortunately, every year we are visited by a plague of sawfly larvae who, in a period of hours, strip all the leaves from the bush leaving nothing but branches, stems, and fruit clusters.

Sawfly larvae munching down on a currant leaf.

Sawfly larvae destroying a currant leaf.

Sawfly larvae destroying a currant leaf.

More damn sawfly larvae.

I hate these guys, they are nasty little beggars. Usually I use the hose to knock them off, but for some reason the wouldn’t reach this year and I had to pick ’em off by hand. OK, the reason why the hose wouldn’t reach has to do with someone leaving the outside faucet turned on a couple of winters ago so the pipe burst and I’m having a hang of a time fixing it, since replacing the pipe requires removing the kitchen counters to get at the internal connection and that’s not on the agenda for a few more years yet.

Anyways, I was gone from Friday afternoon to Sunday noon, and in that time the little beggars munched their way through almost the entire bush. The leaves will grow back, but of course it’s a setback for the plant again this year.

I need to find a more cunning plan for dealing with these guys for next year.